"No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends." John 15:13
This verse is very appropriate for Memorial Day, the special day each year we in the United States remember the many who gave the ultimate sacrifice in service of our country. The idea of a day of commemoration for a nation's fallen is not unique to the United States. It is a universally held and centuries-old tradition of honoring those who gave so wholly of their love.
In the previous scripture, Jesus gives the commandment, "love one another as I have loved you." Only with a great love for others would someone be willing to sacrifice their life. Even if observed as an act of honor or nobility, the underlying sacrificial act is one of love.
In Jesus’ offering of his life, he acted out of love for us, his friends. Following Christ's command to love each other, we become his friends. While we may never be called upon to lay down our lives for our friends, we can obey his command to love each other completely; loving as God loves us and in the way He desires, there will be no more conflict and war. His love conquers evil.
Father God, we give you thanks for your love for us. On this Memorial Day, we observe the sacrifice and give thanks for those fallen in service to our nation. Lord, we wait anxiously for that day when there will be no more need for war when you ruled in love and peace. Until that day, help us to love completely. To love in the pure sacrificial way you desire, but we often fall short. Strengthen our hearts in love for you and each other. We pray this in the name of Jesus our Christ. Amen.